To help alleviate the need for diapers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hawaii Diaper Bank has partnered with the Salvation Army to help meet the demand.
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii Diaper Bank has received double our usual requests for referrals and anticipate this to increase for some time,” Jessica Histo, founder and president of Hawaii Diaper Bank, said.
To help distribute the extra requests for diapers and essentials, Histo has enlisted help from the Salvation Army.
“The Salvation Army has the manpower, the facility and ability to store and give out bulk shipments of diapers,” Histo said. “We’re so thankful they even said yes to helping us out.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, the need has been greater at the Salvation Army, with more people picking up pantry bags and necessities.
“Diapers have always been a hot commodity and much-needed,” Lt. Jacob Bratton with the Salvation Army said. “We’re lucky to have this opportunity from the diaper bank so we can help more people in this time.”
The Hilo Temple Corps has been distributing the first bulk delivery of 4,800 diapers at headquarters at 219 Ponahawai St. in Hilo for three weeks.
“We have donated about a quarter of our current stock of diapers,” Bratton said. “So there are still plenty for anyone in need.”
The Salvation Army will continue distribution every Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Due to a lack of sizes, the only available diapers will be sizes 4, 6 and 7.
“We basically cleaned out one of our distributor’s warehouses,” Histo said. “We’re hoping we can get more sizes once they restock.”
The Hawaii Diaper Bank is the state’s first organization committed to the collection and distribution of diapers, wipes and other essentials free of charge to families in need. Histo founded the organization in 2016, and the bank has been operating as a nonprofit since July 2018.
“It’s been difficult, and we’ve had to make shifts since the stay-at-home order,” Histo said. “Luckily, our partners have been able to continue to provide current services to make monthly requests happen.”
The bank serves nine community partners that distribute monthly requests to low-income families in need. Through the partnerships, Hawaii Diaper Bank has been able to continue serving an average of 134 keiki per month, which has not changed during the pandemic.
Histo has been running the diaper bank from her home since the founding. Although she was applying for grants to rent a much-needed space, renting a property will be put on hold for now.
“I’m really proud of how much we’ve been able to accomplish in this short amount of time,” Histo said. “I hope everything we’re doing now can help us grow to help more people in the future.”
The Hawaii Diaper Bank is accepting donations of diapers and wipes or financial donations on their website https://hawaiidiaperbank.org.
The Salvation Army is accepting financial donations on their website https://hawaii.salvationarmy.org/hawaii/hilo.
Email Kelsey Walling at firstname.lastname@example.org